How Do Plea Bargains work in Criminal Cases in Tampa Florida?

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Being charged with a crime in Florida is a very serious legal situation for the defendant. All prosecutors focus on winning a conviction when the case goes to court even when the evidence is relatively weak. All criminal cases hinge on reasonable doubt whether or not the defendant actually committed the crime, but prosecutors always think they have enough evidence to convict when any charge is filed. This is especially true in cities like Tampa with a significantly large court docket to process. Prosecutors do not necessarily want to waste valuable time with a case that lacks merit. However, all charges that are filed will at least include the standard beginning steps of a case negotiation following the arrest. Sometimes defendants can bond out before the arraignment, but this is not always available. After the charge is read to the defendant, the judge will set a date for a discovery hearing and the adjudication process will begin there. 

Discovery Hearing 

The first court date in a criminal case is typically the discovery hearing where the state provides the actual evidence being used in the charge. Sometimes the evidence is significantly strong, and sometimes it is not. The criminal defense attorney can then inspect all of the submitted evidence and evaluate the case looking for elements of reasonable doubt. The discovery hearing is also where an assigned public defender may already have a plea bargain negotiated beforehand because they work with the prosecutor on a daily basis, but this rarely bodes well for the defendant. A personal criminal defense attorney will rarely want to even discuss a plea until they have a chance to negotiate for an equitable plea bargain based on the strength of the evidence, as some evidence can be dismissed summarily when it is borderline. Inadmissible evidence is also common, but it is usually discussed informally by the attorneys between the discovery hearing and the actual preliminary hearing before a trial. 

Preliminary Hearing 

The preliminary hearing is usually when negotiations for a plea bargain get intense. Most prosecutors do not want to take a case to a full trial, and a public defender will have the same attitude in many cases. In truth, they may even claim the case is too strong to defend in a trial, which walks the defendant directly into what the prosecutor will want. Public defenders in Florida are appointed by the court at both the state and federal level, and the state maintains an appointed staff that provides legal counsel in public advocate cases only. Their personal priorities can easily be compromised based on their professional relationships and employment. A personal criminal defense attorney is focused on the best bargain they can get for their client, including a case dismissal when the evidence can be dismissed or questioned beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors never want a defendant totally acquitted at trial, and an aggressive criminal defense lawyer will understand this predicament. This is why the preliminary hearing is often continued so the litigants can work out a deal, or at least establish a further discussion period after a trial date is set. 

The Plea Colliquy Hearing 

The court will often schedule a hearing for a plea colloquy when an agreement has been reached regarding sentencing, which is the process of the judge questioning the defendant regarding mental health ability and reviewing the plea arrangements. Florida judges have the authority to either accept or deny entrance of a plea by any defendant, and the type of charge can make a significant difference in the acceptance. The judge will then set a formal sentencing date when all parties appear for the terms of the punishment being entered into the official record. 

It is important to understand that a criminal history can have a major impact on the life of a defendant following the fact. And, the criminal defense attorney you choose can make a big difference. That difference maker in southern Florida is William Hanlon Tampa criminal lawyer

Discovery Hearing

The first court date in a criminal case is typically the discovery hearing where the state provides the actual evidence being used in the charge. Sometimes the evidence is significantly strong, and sometimes it is not. The criminal defense attorney can then inspect all of the submitted evidence and evaluate the case looking for elements of reasonable doubt. The discovery hearing is also where an assigned public defender may already have a plea bargain negotiated beforehand because they work with the prosecutor on a daily basis, but this rarely bodes well for the defendant. A personal criminal defense attorney will rarely want to even discuss a plea until they have a chance to negotiate for an equitable plea bargain based on the strength of the evidence, as some evidence can be dismissed summarily when it is borderline. Inadmissible evidence is also common, but it is usually discussed informally by the attorneys between the discovery hearing and the actual preliminary hearing before a trial. 

Preliminary Hearing 

The preliminary hearing is usually when negotiations for a plea bargain get intense. Most prosecutors do not want to take a case to a full trial, and a public defender will have the same attitude in many cases. In truth, they may even claim the case is too strong to defend in a trial, which walks the defendant directly into what the prosecutor will want. Public defenders in Florida are appointed by the court at both the state and federal level, and the state maintains an appointed staff that provides legal counsel in public advocate cases only. Their personal priorities can easily be compromised based on their professional relationships and employment. A personal criminal defense attorney is focused on the best bargain they can get for their client, including a case dismissal when the evidence can be dismissed or questioned beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors never want a defendant totally acquitted at trial, and an aggressive criminal defense lawyer will understand this predicament. This is why the preliminary hearing is often continued so the litigants can work out a deal, or at least establish a further discussion period after a trial date is set. 

The Plea Colloquy Hearing 

The court will often schedule a hearing for a plea colloquy when an agreement has been reached regarding sentencing, which is the process of the judge questioning the defendant regarding mental health ability and reviewing the plea arrangements. Florida judges have the authority to either accept or deny entrance of a plea by any defendant, and the type of charge can make a significant difference in the acceptance. The judge will then set a formal sentencing date when all parties appear for the terms of the punishment being entered into the official record. 

It is important to understand that a criminal history can have a major impact on the life of a defendant following the fact. And, the criminal defense attorney you choose can make a big difference. That difference maker in southern Florida is William Hanlon Tampa criminal lawyer


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